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Preview: Manchester United need to beat the Baggies to keep the momentum on Manchester City

West Bromwich Albion -v- Manchester United

Premier League 2017/18

The Hawthorns, West Bromwich

Sunday 17th December 2017; KO 14:15 GMT

Live on Sky Sports Premier League HD in the United Kingdom

Manchester United travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon. Last weekend, United fell to their third defeat in the league this season with Manchester City winning the Manchester derby 2-1 at Old Trafford. Three days later, United beat Bournemouth 1-0 at Old Trafford, returning to winning ways but still eleven points behind City, the Premier League leaders. United will be looking to keep winning during the festive period, looking to overcome the Baggies, under new manager Alan Pardew are still looking for a recent victory in the Premier League, winning the first two matches of the season, drawing eight and losing seven. United need to make it another defeat for them.

Paul Pogba will be looking to return after this match, serving a three-match suspension and eligible to face Bristol City in the Carabao Cup at Ashton Gate on Wednesday evening, which should see United in much better condition as when Pogba does not feature, United seems to be a completely different team. Jose Mourinho will be happy to have his star player back for the rest of the festive fixtures; four more playable after this match before the end of the month. Mourinho confirmed on Friday that Ivorian defender Eric Bailly will have surgery and be out of action for two to three months, which will be a big miss, but right now, United have a near enough full defence with Victor Lindelof, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind and Axel Tuanzebe all fit.

Previous Matches: Manchester United have won the most matches but the Baggies can pull a surprise, or two

Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion have played 130 competitive matches in the history of both teams; the first match on the 1st October 1892, a 0-0 draw in the old Division One. United have won 55 times, drawn 32 times and lost 43 times. The last defeat to the Baggies was on the 6th March 2016, a 1-0 defeat at the Hawthorns with Salomón Rondón scoring the winner in the 66th minute of the match. United won this fixture last season, a 2-0 victory with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring a brace in the fifth and 56th minutes of the match.

The match on Sunday will be played on the same date as this fixture last season, albeit on a different day. United have a good record against the Baggies – the longest unbeaten run was 13 matches which lasted from the 27th November 2004, until the 19th May 2013, that 5-5 draw which marker Sir Alex Ferguson’s 1,500th and final competitive match of his management. Romelu Lukaku scored a hat-trick in that match, against his current club.

Form: Mourinho’s side are in much better shape this season

Manchester United have played 17 matches in the Premier League this season and currently sit in second place. United have won 12 times, drawn twice and lost three matches, earning 38 points, 11 points adrift of the league leaders, Manchester City. United have scored 37 goals and conceded just 11, meaning they have a goal difference of 26. In the Carabao Cup, United are in the fifth round and looking to defend the trophy they won last season. In the UEFA Champions League, United are into the round of 16 after winning five and losing one of the six group stage matches played.

West Bromwich Albion have played 17 matches in the Premier League this season and currently sit just above the relegation zone in 17th place. The Baggies have 14 points and only goal difference is keeping them out of the relegation zone. Alan Pardew’s side have scored 12 goals, conceding 22 and have won twice, drawn eight times, losing seven times. West Brom were knocked out of the Carabao Cup by Manchester City in the last round and are not in a European competition this season.

Team News: One injury for Manchester United and it seems to be a long-term one

Jose Mourinho has confirmed that he has no new injuries to contend with ahead of the trip to The Hawthorns on Sunday. Eric Bailly has been ruled out for the next two to three months after needing surgery on his ankle. Paul Pogba end his suspension after this match, which will see the Frenchman return to face Bristol City. Phil Jones has returned from injury which will see Mourinho’s side pretty strong for the festive period. Speaking about Bailly’s injury in his pre-match press conference on Friday, Mourinho told the official Manchester United website the following:

“Bailly goes to surgery – the decision is made. I don’t say [he’s out] for the rest of the season but it’s for the next two or three months. But now we have [Phil] Jones back and we have [Chris] Smalling, even [Daley] Blind, so it’s a position we have good cover in but of course we’ll miss the player.”

Predicted Starting XI: Romelu Lukaku to be dropped against his former club? United still have the side to beat the Baggies…

Match Prediction: Manchester United to reign supreme 

West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Manchester United

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